From January First to October Eighteenth, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of the Wisconsin Department of Justice has identified thousands of IP addresses ( map ) for known or suspected downloads of child pornography, according to Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. “The number is over 22,000,” Van Hollen says. “During the last cycle about two years ago when they did a similar study, the number was over 15,000. I thought that number was mind boggling.”
But Van Hollen says the number is a conservative estimate showing only the minimum size of the problem. “The reality is, is that for every person who is viewing images of child pornography, it drives demand to create images of child pornography,” says Van Hollen. “Plus, studies show that 83 percent of those people who view it, participate in the creation of it.” Not just photographing, but actually sexually abusing of children, and Van Hollen suggests well in excess of twenty thousand kids in Wisconsin may have been sexually abused over the past ten months. “That's a horrific number. What that means is that we've got incredible numbers of people out their who are abusing our children, our toddlers and our infants in perhaps the most egregious way that they can,” says Van Hollen. “We need to do something about that, because if we don't exist as a society to protect our children from these kinds of offenses, I don't know why we exist.”
Van Hollen says he wants to raise public awareness of the issue, since law enforcement has historically been under funded to combat child pornography.